The Importance of Gut Health for ED
Introducing Lauryn Lax, Nutritionist
I help individuals struggling with unsolved health conditions really get to the root cause so they can feel good. A lot of individuals I work with are wrestling with hormone imbalances and gut health issues and even on immune issues and things that they’ve gone to their doctor for but the doctor really has not been able to solve what that root cause is.
The importance of a healthy gut, your “second brain”
Your gut is the gateway to health and your gut microbiome actually contains over 40 trillion bacteria, so there’s more bacteria than cells in your body. Actually seven pounds of you is your gut bacteria if you were to weight them on a scale. The gut is also known as the largest endocrine organ in your body and so when we’re thinking about eating and the gut there’s a huge connection there as well as it’s connected to your brain. Your gut is often called your second brain, and there’s actually more neurons in your gut than any other part of your peripheral nervous system.
The vagus nerve, the nerve that also governs your digestion and your frontal lobe, the way you think and process things, is roughly connected from the top of your brain to the top of your gut. If you’ve ever experienced, say, the butterflies in your stomach experience before … you’ve experienced what that brain/gut connection is. One in two people actually have a gut-related health condition and the thing is that gut conditions aren’t always felt in your gut. So, if you think about gut conditions, what comes to mind?
Frequent trips to the bathroom
Regrettably, things like bloating, constipation, gas, and heartburn. But, actually, things like hormone imbalances, diabetes, skin conditions, auto-immune conditions all have a direct link to your gut. There’s actually been a 400% increase in the research alone dedicated to the gut microbiome the past three years, and just showing its links to a lot of the chronic health conditions and diseases we’re seeing right now in our culture. Six of the top 10 health conditions are mental health or behavioral health related, stemming back to the gut again. Including ED.
Gut Health and erectile dysfunction
What’s going on in your gut and your gut bacteria are going to be directly related to your libido and your erections. Just because your gut bacteria, what, are firing the cues and the signals, for that to occur in a healthy way. So a healthy, thriving gut microbiome is going to produce a healthy, thriving hormonal connection, and with the ED being a byproduct of that as well.
Treat ED by Improving Gut Health
I have five gut-love habits that I educate with one first. Number one would be hydrating and drinking half your body weight in ounces of water per day. For instance, if a person weighs 200 pounds, that’s about 100 ounces or about 10 cups. Number two would be boosting your digestion, and so how do we do that? We talked some about food journaling before, but chewing your food really well, mindful eating. Along with that is a really great way to just start digesting better. Digestion begins in your mouth, and so breaking down your food. You want it to be fully liquified before swallowing. Another way to boost digestion would be supporting stomach acid and enzyme production. We need stomach acid and digestive enzymes to break down our food. They’re like the Pacmen that chew your food. That’s how enzymes work.
But most people are pretty deficient in those things. You naturally have stomach acid in your stomach and then enzymes in your intestines when the food makes it there. But there’s external support you can get over-the-counter to support digestion that way as well as something like apple cider vinegar which—this is a natural stomach acid booster, mixing that with water. Definitely dilute it in order to not be so acidic and strong. That’s great to drink with—before or after a meal. Just a tablespoon in water. Number three would be loving your gut bugs.
Probiotics for gut health and ED
This is where a really quality probiotic can be helpful. 90% of probiotics on shelves do not contain the probiotics they claim, so we’re not going to just recommend going to the store down the street to just get any probiotic. Doing some research on even the company, and a company that’s really transparent in how they are producing their probiotics is typically more stealth than the companies that are just saying—slapping that probiotics on the label. Probiotics are really fragile. That’s the reason why 90% of them don’t contain the probiotics they claim.
Because the stomach acid and bile kind of eats it before it even makes its way to your gut.
Exactly. Or just like the manufacturing and heating process of shipping it to the shelf, so you’re really just swallowing a capsule in that scenario. Another great way, and source of probiotics, would be through fermented foods. Just a little dab’ll do you all day. These are the foods that maybe your grandma, great grandmother ate—things like sauerkraut, a little bit of kombucha, Kimchee.
Yogurt and Gut Health
Yogurt, a really quality yogurt, so not just a fat-free yogurt. Actually, most fat-free yogurts on shelves do not contain probiotics because they had to get heated, highly heated, in order to become fat-free anyway. But something like a grass-fed raw organic yogurt is also a probiotic-rich food.
“Tasting the Rainbow” for Gut Health
Number four gut-love habit would just be tasting the rainbow. So adding those two to three different colors at each meal really—tying to get as much variety in your diet as possible. It does not mean that every meal has to be a gourmet something, new recipe from the Instagram blogger that you follow. But picking two to three rotating meals for your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, and eating those (INAUDIBLE) that we eat can be a great way to just start to vary your diet. Lastly, gut-love habit number five would be just soothing your gut. I like to think about this habit as really talking more about the stress conundrum as how stress impacts the gut microbiome.
Sleep, Circadian Rhythm and Microbiome
A great way to start soothing your gut or destressing your microbiome goes back to the circadian rhythm disruption. Candling down at night is a great first step, a bedtime routine. Without blue light. Kind of get rid of the screens one to two hours at least before bed or, at the very least, using a monitor on your screen that can calm the blue light down. Orange-tinted glasses is another great way to use screens at night.
The “Poo Test” for gut health
What’s the most optimal state for my gut to be in to achieve an erection? Well, not with an unhealthy gut or an imbalance of gut bacteria. I love to use the poo test to do that. Your daily poo is your daily report card.
It would be one to three times a day and feeling full elimination, kind of like a sausage-formed style poo. And we thought of a golden poo which would be like a C-shape or an S-shape. That’s a great way of daily checking if you have normal bowel habits. Another indicator of gut health or how healthy my gut is is like—again, if you’re feeling bloated after meals or even having heartburn and indigestion. That’s a sign that your digestion’s not on par. Just noticing an increase in libido. I think when you start to adopt a healthier gut from the probiotic perspective. For instance, putting healthy guys in. But a lot of times people do experience an increase in their libido.
Antibiotics and healthy gut bacteria for ED
Which brings up another issue is how antibiotics, which we frequently use in our society, can greatly impact our gut microbiome, not just in the time that you’re taking them but for years and years after that. Antibiotics can be lifesaving tools, and they have been lifesaving tools, but what we’re finding in the research with how they impact the gut microbiome is they completely sterilize the internal gut, and so—
They kill the bad bacteria along with the good bacteria.
Exactly. When we hear the word bacteria, a lot of people may think like, ooh, bacteria growth. We actually need and want bacteria. We want a lot of good, healthy bacteria. So when we do take the antibiotics, and those are eradicated as well, our immune defenses go down, our hormonal supply does down.
But the part two of the antibiotic protocol is usually just never talked about or given out from a practitioner, so—meaning how can we help you rebuild the gut after you’ve taken the antibiotics? A lot of times, once a person’s been on the antibiotics, we’ll see them go on maybe again when flu season strikes or several times within that same year because the immune system also goes down.
If you have to take antibiotics because it is lifesaving then you need to talk to your doctor about how to restore the healthy bacteria.
Exactly. If the doctor is not fully aware of that, then that would be partnering with a nutritionist or a functional medical practitioner to also be an ally in your care.
And try and figure out how to not take the antibiotics. I feel like right now it’s such an issue because of the fact that the littlest thing happens, where it’s not life-threatening, and we’re like, oh, antibiotics, the cure.
And even things that you can do at home for just—the antibiotic conundrum that I take those when I’m sick or not is really focusing on your immune system and your gut. Eighty percent of your immune system is produced in your gut. If you find that you continue to have immune system issue after immune system issue, that’s a sign that something greater is going on in the gut.